TOKYO:- A former brokerage executive who helped camera giant Olympus cover up years of huge financial losses was given a suspended jail sentence on Monday.
Tokyo District Court gave Akio Nakagawa, 64, an 18-month sentence, suspended for three years, and fined him 7 million yen ($58,000) for helping three former Olympus executives falsify financial statements.
The three also received suspended prison terms in July last year for their part in engineering a scheme to hide about $1.7 billion in losses that had accumulated since the the 1990s, by using outsized consulting fees and buying unrelated companies.
“The cover-up was led by the Olympus side and Nakagawa played a subordinate role,” presiding judge Hiroaki Saito said.
“The defendant played an important role by managing a fund for Olympus’s cover-up, in return receiving expensive compensation,” the judge said, after rejecting a not guilty plea.
His role however “doesn’t constitute collusion and is limited to assistance”, Saito said.
The scandal battered the country’s corporate governance image and sparked probes by regulators in Japan, Britain and the United States.
The firm has also been slapped with millions of dollars in penalties imposed by the courts and regulators.
Olympus has since undergone a major overhaul that included cutting about seven percent of its workforce and forging a capital tie-up with electronics giant Sony, which is seeking to tap the lucrative medical equipment market.
Although better known as a camera maker, Olympus is a world leader in medical endoscopes.